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Barbara Bush

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Mrs. Bush recalls the death of her 3-year-old daughter Robin:

“George and I lost a precious daughter to leukemia . . . .

We look forward to the day when we no longer lose our loved ones to this deadly disease.

Barbara Pierce Bush, 1925–2018.  First Lady of the United States, 1989–1993.  Typed Letter Signed, Barbara Bush, one page, 6⅜” x 8½”, on engraved personal stationery, [no place], May 23, 1997.

In this poignant letter recalling the death of her daughter, Robin, from leukemia at age 3, Mrs. Bush politely declines to serve as the honorary chair of an organization to benefit the Leukemia Society of America.  She cannot, she says, be a participant in name only.  She writes:  “Thanks so much for you nice letter inviting me to be the ‘Honorary Chairperson’ of the Friends for Live organization benefiting the Leukemia Society of America.  As you may know, George and I lost a precious child to leukemia, so learning about your commitment to help fight this disease gives us both great joy.  /  However, . . . I am afraid that my hectic schedule prevents me from being able to accept your gracious request.  I simply cannot take on another time commitment, and also don’t feel I can lend my name to an organization I do not give time to.  I know it is a disappointing response, but I hope you understand.  /  Please know that I support all the wonderful work of the Leukemia Society of America, and admire and appreciate your leadership and dedication to help this organization.  We look forward to the day when we no longer lose our loved ones to this deadly disease.  This letter along with the enclosed photograph [not present] comes with my best wishes.  /  Warmly . . .

In an excerpt from her book The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, author Susan Page wrote of the effect on Mrs. Bush as Robin succumbed to what was then a relatively unknown illness:

Robin Bush’s illness and her death from leukemia, at the age of 3, would forever change Barbara Bush. The experience would steel her resolve and broaden her understanding of the ways the innocent can be caught and crushed by the unfairness of life. It would leave an indelible stamp on her about what matters, and what doesn’t. It would cement a bond between her and her firstborn son that would last until Barbara’s passing. And it would demonstrate the fierce maternal determination to protect her children at all costs that would define the rest of her life.

Susan Page, Barbara Bush’s Greatest Loss, The Atlantic, May 9, 2019. 

After Robin’s death, the Bushes created the Bright Star Foundation to raise awareness and funding for leukemia research.  Mrs. Bush later served as the honorary chair of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This is a beautiful letter.  Mrs. Bush has signed in blue rollerball.  The letter has never been folded and is in extra fine condition.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

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